Franz’s pals make music to strip your skin off to
It’s a small detail, but the fact that bassist Ailidh Lennon plays most of tonight’s hometown gig sporting a fake fur muffler says a lot about Sons And Daughters. At a time when growing a retro moustache constitutes the height of rock’s sartorial risk-taking, this band’s singularity is clear even from their stand-out look; they resemble teen prom girls running amok smoking reefers in the best ’50s B-movies. Their music – a noir-ish blend of country, rockabilly, post-punk, murder ballads and trad Scots folk – continues on the idiosyncratic theme. It bears so little relation to anything else in 2005 that it could have been beamed in from the fourth moon of Saturn. They’re signed to the same label as Franz Ferdinand and were formed in the same city but, even in the notoriously close-knit Glaswegian music community, Sons And Daughters are outsiders.
Tonight, though, they throw the kind of ghoulish party that makes everyone present want to take off their skin and dance around in their bones. From the razor-toothed rockabilly swagger of ‘Taste The Last Girl’ to the spaghetti western-sounding murder mystery ‘Rama Lama’, the boxcar country of ‘Monsters’ to the drunken death-ceilidh of latest single ‘Dance Me In’, each song is a pristine mini-movie like the three-minute film-script pitches Nick Cave once specialised in. It doesn’t hurt either that, in boyfriend/girlfriend front couple Adele Bethel and Scott Paterson, Sons And Daughters possess the kind of compelling chemistry that makes Jack and Meg look like nervous blind daters on their first meeting. She spills around the stage in a sequined cocktail dress like Judy Garland drunk on Sunset Strip and boasts a voice akin to walking on drawing pins.
He’s got the just-crept-out-of-the-sewer growl and looks disconcertingly like he might cough up black blood at any moment. Fortunately, he doesn’t, but a crowd-pleasing cover of The Stranglers’ leery pub-punk hit ‘Nice’N’Sleazy’ (in tribute to the Glaswegian indie bar of the same name) is almost as deadly.
Closing with the disarmingly cheery ‘Blood’, the atmosphere is so black it’s almost a surprise to emerge into the late-evening Scots sunlight rather than, say, a smoky waterfront bar or a graveyard. And through it all, Ailidh kept her muffler on. Perfect.